I just taught a class on Proactive Parenting, so I am all wound up. I have these fabulous families who want to adopt children. Except there vision of children and the DCF version of children that actually exist, are very different. So each week little by little I leak information about our kids and see if they run screaming from the room. So far no one has. Which could mean a few things: they are not getting it, they don't believe me, or are too dumb to know what is good for them. I am kidding of course. One couple is very scared now, this is a sign of intelligence in the DCF world. See, if you are scared sh#*less and you keep coming anyway then I know I am doing my job.
Here's a little of how I explain it in class.
The definition of Proactive parenting is planning how you will handle behaviors and it is the opposite of reactive parenting.
Proactive parenting is not to be confused with plotting against your children.
Now I tell my families this, and they all look at me like I have a screw loose. This is because they haven't met our kids yet. In a year, I will say the same things and they will laugh hysterically because they will remember nights where they stayed up late plotting a really great punishment for some sort of misbehavior. Here are few different scenarios of different parenting styles:
scenario 1 proactive parenting:
You have little Johnny at home and he loves to jump on the bed. So you tell little johnny that jumping on the bed is not allowed. The consequence of jumping on the bed will be that he won't get to enjoy dessert with the family this evening, and that would make you very sad.
scenario 2 reactive parenting:
Little johnny goes upstairs and jumps on the bed, you take away his mattress and all of his blankets and stuffed animals and he sleeps on the floor.
scenario 3 plotting:
You go to home depot and get plastic runners for carpets cut to the size of the bed, then you purchase a large 3x5 sheet of wood. You go home, put the piece of wood on the bed with the carpet runner upside down (so all the little plastic spikes stick up) and then you cover the bed with a thin sheet and tuck it all in and make it nice and neat. You pick up Johnny from school and you remind him that he is not allowed to jump on the bed.
Now in scenario one, Johnny jumps on the bed and then has a tantrum all through dessert because he didn't get any. which ruins your evening and makes you angry.
In scenario two johnny pitches a fit at bedtime and keeps you up for hours, which makes your crabby and angry the next day.
In scenario three, johnny yells 'ouch' and 'what the F#$%' as you run into your bedroom cackling to your spouse about how funny it was. You feel revitalized and Johnny is now suspicious.
Now the few of you who read my blog and have difficult children will identify with the plotting. We do it for therapeutic purposes. We don't always carry it out, but just find enjoyment and stress relief in designing it.